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April 23, 2015 Updates

With recent reports that his teammates are worried he'll leave as a free agent and that the Spurs and Mavericks believe they have a chance, a person with knowledge of LaMarcus Aldridge's free-agent strategy told CBSSports.com that all options remain on the table -- including parting ways with the Blazers . The person, who has been briefed on Aldridge's plan, said he "wouldn't be surprised" if the four-time All-Star and Dallas native were lured to his native Texas when he hits the unrestricted market on July 1. CBSSports.com

His shot is off. His pace has been rushed. And the combination of Mike Conley and Beno Udrih have run circles around him and the Blazers' defensive schemes. "Obviously,'' Lillard said, "I'm not helping the team. But I have to stick with it.'' Oregonian

April 22, 2015 Updates
April 21, 2015 Updates

And even though he says he didn't hit the weight room to silence the critics, he takes pride in how he has transformed his physique and his game. "I knew I wasn't soft. I knew I could play on this level and I knew that being the paint was just a physical position that I wasn't strong enough for,'' Aldridge said. "I wanted to get myself strong enough where I could be dominant down there.'' Oregonian

There was whooping and hollering coming from the Trail Blazers locker room Tuesday afternoon, and shortly after, there was a long round of applause. Hardly the sounds one would expect to hear from a team coming off a demoralizing and thorough Game 1 defeat in the NBA playoffs. But before Tuesday's practice, the Blazers surprised late-season signee Tim Frazier with two trophies – the NBA Development League Rookie of the Year and the D-League's Most Valuable Player Trophy. "We were happy for him,'' Blazers point guard Damian Lillard said. "It seems like he has been here all season with how fast he has grown onto us. It was a great moment because getting to know him you see how hungry he is to be an NBA player.'' Oregonian

Trail Blazers forward Nicolas Batum has apologized for his role in a team motivational message that included an inflammatory remark about Spanish players, which was perceived as a shot at Grizzlies All-Star center Marc Gasol. "I apologize if I hurt some people," Batum said before the Blazers practiced Tuesday at FedEx Forum. "But I have total respect for Marc Gasol. He knows that. We've talked about it sometimes." Batum said his intent was never to harm Spanish people or anyone else when he contributed to a list of motivation themes the Trail Blazers posted inside the visitors' locker room before their 100-86 loss Sunday to Memphis in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series. Among the messages on the laminated card was the phrase: "We don't lose to Spanish players." ESPN.com

Batum confirmed Tuesday he was responsible for the part about Spanish players and that a longstanding international basketball rivalry between France and Spain was the source of the comment. He said the message was not intended as a cultural or racist insult. Portland coach Terry Stotts and several of the team's players have said the card was never meant to be seen by media members who entered the locker room Sunday. But they also insisted nothing on the card was meant to be offensive. ESPN.com

Batum said he has not heard from the league about any potential disciplinary action and that he had not yet reached out to Gasol to apologize directly. Batum said he may have a chance during Wednesday's game to speak to Gasol to make sure the Memphis star understands the intent was not to be offensive. ESPN.com

Batum said his girlfriend, who is of Russian and Spanish descent, fussed at him for not understanding how his message on the team card could be interpreted if presented without context. "I understand how it could get out, get around and hurt people," Batum said. "I joked with Spanish players before and I do with French players all the time. I don't hate Spanish people. My girlfriend is Spanish. I don't think Marc will make a big deal about this. Worse things [are] said between France and Spain [on the court] in the summer than this was. Trust me." ESPN.com

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